Pinot Noir: DRC and Australia
Lots of tasting today. I began at Corney & Barrow for the new release 2006 DRC tasting. It's such a treat to be able to taste these wines each year. They're absolute benchmarks of Burgundy at its very finest.
I had a chat with Aubert de Villaine, who is a total star: he's polite, thoughtful and patient, and is one of those rare people who is a winemaking legend, yet when you interview them they don't make you feel they are doing you a huge favour. I asked him about the 2006 vintage.
'The wines show that one cannot speak of great vintages or small vintages any more', says Aubert. 'Take the last 10 years: each has had its own character. 2006 was more difficult, certainly, than 2005, but, finally, with a small yield and a lot of care at sorting you have a maturity - both phenolic and sugar - that is at the same level as 2005. The difference is in the style of the wines'.
Aubert says that being organic is very important, and has had an effect on the quality of the wines. The domaine has been organic for 25 years, and part biodynamic for a while. With the 2008 vintage it is fully biodynamic. Yet Aubert thinks the big quality gain is switching to organics from conventional farming, not the move from organics to biodynamics.
The wines were really, really good, especially for 2006, and a write-up will appear tomorrow.
Then it was off to the Australia day tasting at the Emirates Stadium. It was a really good tasting, and a special feature was five themed rooms with 20 wines each, chosen by a particular Aussie journalist. Aromatic whites, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, blends and odd varieties, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon made up the selections, and this worked really well.
My favourite wines of the tasting were the super-elegant Pinot Noirs of Mac Forbes. They ROCK!